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Ringling Brothers Latest Betrayal

Discussion in 'The Clown Forum' started by Mongo The Clown, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. Mongo The Clown

    Mongo The Clown Active Member

    “Betray” might be a tad strong of a word. OK, not really. I don’t know how else to characterize this.

    As some of you already know, I have had a love/hate relationship with Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus these last few years. They have been a great circus tradition since 1919. No other show has ever exemplified the word “circus” as they have. Which is what makes their latest betrayal all the more heartbreaking.

    I have been going to their shows since they were still extravagant 3-ring spectacles and true to the spirit of being “the greatest show on earth.” But over the last few years they’ve crapped on a lot of circus tradition. I’m going to resist ranting about all the different things they have done to kick true circus lovers in the teeth and just talk about their latest slap in the face.

    It is no secret thst Ringling Brothers have been marginalizing clowns over the years. The last RBB&B show I went to seemed to include some clowns as an afterthought. Clowns were once one of the most celebrated and prominent aspects of the show. They were household names and appeared on major magazine covers and were featured prominently on circus advertisements. Now at most Ringling Brothers shows, clowns are relegated to promoting show souvinir toys and chorus nonsense. At the last one I attended, I wondered why they even bothered to include them at all. I wondered if they were going to eventually just drop them from the show altogether.

    Well, the other day they tweeted something that just made my jaw drop. Hyping their new Out of This World show, they posted a photo on Twitter with the caption “Forget elephants and clowns. This is why the circus of the 21st rocks.”


    I couldn’t believe what I was reading. “Forget clowns.” Bad enough we get reminded that elephants have been removed from the show. But we’re now told clowns are just as irrelevant? Are clowns going to be the next great tradition to get booted from what is essentially the new Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Acrobat Festival? What the actual hell? And this was just days after I applauded them for including token clowns in one of about a hundred Twitter posts. This wasn’t just a slap in the face. It was that AND a spit in the eye. I’m thoroughly angry at this. Forget clowns. Holy crap. After all that clowns have done for those guys- both on the sawdust floor AND behind the scenes. Know what? FORGET RINGLING BROS. I’m done with them. From now on I’m just supporting what few traditional mud shows are still out there. Anyone who still has respect for real circuses and the clowns who made them great, help me spread the word and tell RBB&B to get bent. If you do the Twitter thing, throw out a quick message to them with the hashtag #ForgetRinglingBros

    Or you can just shrug your shoulders and say “times are changing” and watch clowning die out altogether. Really, if Korean pop boy bands can trend with annoying frequency, we can at least get this to trend for ten minutes.

    Clowning as an art form is dying. It isn’t dying because “times are changing.” It’s dying because the industry and the clowning community has done little to counter the systematic marginalization of clowns. Of course technology has changed things. The world is at our fingertips. There are countless distractions and things vying for the attention and limelight on an amazing array of media that did not exist in 1919. But then, we have access to the same technology. We can use it to further our art and promote an image counter to the tiresome pop trend that denigrates clowns as creepy, scary killers or monsters. And to troll Ringling Brothers. Definitely troll Ringling Brothers.
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  2. Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft)

    Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft) Old Bucket Spitter

    I'm not shrugging my shoulders because I have a very deep and passionate interest in both clowns and clowning but times have always changed. You might rue the loss of wild animal acts in the Circus but once upon a time, the wild animal act at the circus, was watching Christians being fed to lions. Culture and tastes are not some static entity, we either embrace the change or we become irrelevant.

    While I have no fear that there will always be a need and calling for costumed jesters, comics and comedic entertainers, I have regularly questioned the relevance and appropriateness of clowns as children's entertainers. Ringling is not betraying the clown, it is trying to stay relevant, reflecting the needs and wants of it's audience.

    I don't see it like that. Looking on from my overseas vantage I think the clowning community, while represented by the likes of organizations such as COAI has destroyed itself. No organization in history has done more to harm clowning, than COAI. It has promoted a backward looking, one dimensional image that harps back to some imagined but totally false, 1950s golden age. It reflects a certain cultural attitude of America, where the flip side of the have a go, reach for the stars coin, is a dumb it down so everyone can have a go attitude. It promotes a lack lustre mediocrity allowing people to enjoy the easy stuff, like dressing up, while ignoring the hard stuff, the discipline and effort of acquiring performable skills.

    If people are not prepared to embrace change and adapt with the times, I don't see any chance that the clown, as many Americans see, it can remain relevant.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016
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  3. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    Gee, I wonder how all the Clown College alumni and former Ringling show clowns feel about this. Shucks. I wonder how Sarah Chapman, in whose living room and back yard the first classes were held, feels about the dis. Dang, I even feel especially bad for Janice Aria, an early female clown from that organization who is now responsible for Ringling's elephants. Talk about an employer spitting in someone's face!

    I guess we're a long way from the historic "pegs upon which the circus is hung." It does seem distressing that the circus which once promoted that concept would be the same one that now wholeheartedly trashes the very concept.

    That said, as Barry notes, it is also just good ballyhoo (perhaps the real peg upon which the circus has always hung) responding to the already existing audience prejudices. And, one can't entirely blame industry for attempting to connect with potential ticket buyers to stir up profits.

    I'm not sure that the Feld daughters (or should I say granddaughters?), who now run the show, have ever been fans of clowns, since they were kids and exposed to the commediens as potential hires, serving the purpose of test dummies for their dad. Which, perhaps, explains part of the dumbing down and dismissal of these artists on their shows in recent years.

    Yet clowning will always exist in circus, by necessity, as the release of tension that is essential. It may come in unique forms that differ in presentation and appearance from yesteryear. (Or, ironically, embrace even older forms of clowning that were for awhile dismissed.) But a circus without comic release is just too serious to take....and cries out to be satired, itself.

    The best clowning in the above mentioned Feld production comes not from the colorfully costumed token characters designated as such, anyway. Instead, it is interspersed clowning "bits of business" by other acts, which understand that it, indeed, plays well to the assembled crowd who came to see the show.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016
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  4. Mongo The Clown

    Mongo The Clown Active Member

    That's pretty much what I said. I place a lot of blame on the clowning community. Though maybe for different reasons than how you believe. This is how I see it and I may be wrong- who am I anyways but a sketchy clown, but here goes- How changing times affect clowning is mostly because, like I said, we're not answering the dumbing down by things like the ridiculous killer clown fad in Hollywood in any meaningful way. So if this trend of depicting clowns as killers makes everyone think of clowns as axe murderers or serial killers or monsters- and it does to a depressing degree, well, that's changing times, right? Are we obliged to all become scary monster clowns to appease this morbid appetite to remain relevant? Or do we remain true to what we are and what our traditions are and show everyone that's not what clowns are? Which brings us to the children you mentioned- Well, when is a better time to make an impression on our audience than when they are children? I was bewitched and enthralled by clowns when I was a small child. They were such wonderful, magical creatures then. I was introduced to clowning by Red Skelton and Bozo and Emmett Kelly Jr. and Lou Jacob. Today most kids were introduced to clowns by horrible Halloween costumes and Stephen King's IT. That's not changing times. That's slander.

    Changing times also means the "pussification" of society, as George Carlin famously said. People are becoming scared of EVERYTHING nowadays. Coping with anything contrary means hugging a teddy bear in a specially assigned "safe space and bawling our eyes out in selfie videos on YouTube ("Leave Britney Spears Aaaallonnnee!") Are we obliged to take off all our makeup, dress in more ordinary clothes and tone down the physicality of our comedy as not to alarm anyone- thereby changing with the times and remaining relevant? I know to a degree some form of this adapting is actually necessary. A LOT of what was funny in 1920 is NOT funny now. You HAVE to play to your audience. But when the powers that be steps in and push clowns aside and tells everyone they'll get their satire and comedy relief from other staff between forty different acrobat acts and an obligatory dog and pony bit, well I find that offensive and depressing.

    I know there is much more to it and that things are much more nuanced than these examples from both ends of the spectrum, but this is happening. I think we each need to make our own personal choice whether or not we'll let the layman of the outside world define us and tell us what we are and what we look like based on his or her own fear, ignorance, or pop indoctrination, or do we remain true to the spirit of what it has always meant to be a clown and continue to hold a mirror up to them and lampoon their foibles and shenanigans and show THEM who THEY are?

    I don't really disagree with much of what you said. But I am interested in knowing more about what you think of what COAI has done to damage clowning. Being disinterested in some big clowning organization (mostly because of their complete disinterest in clowns like me) I don't know all that much about them.

    I DO know a lot about circuses and Ringling Brothers. And they are back-stabbing bastards.
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  5. Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft)

    Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft) Old Bucket Spitter

    When I think of, or am asked to describe and define a clown, the very first phrase that enters my mind is, "comedic performer". Comedy is the nuts, the bolts the very essence and heart of a clown. I have never seen or can think of any exceptions where there can be a clown without comedy. I've thought a great deal over the years about what a clown is and I know my expectation that a clown is supposed to be funny, has been shared throughout human history with the peoples of various cultures, the world over, everywhere that is, except for present day America. I take the members of this forum to be by an large, fairly typical of the membership of COAI and here there is a blanket refusal to accept that clowns are primarily comedic entertainers.

    Over the years, I've looked at COAI programs, their sponsored events and conventions. I've spoken with and read the posts of it's members and it's officials and at no point has there been shown any interest or inclination to encourage and foster comedic skills and talents. For all it's lofty pretensions of promoting the art of the clown, COAI has demonstrated it possesses absolutely no idea of what a clown really is. All COAI seems to do, is offer a home for people who think clowns don't have to be funny. These people see COAI as some sort of quasi professional organisation with membership conferring upon them legitimate clown status. It's emphasis and main interest in clowning seems to be, as here on Clown Forum, looking the part, costumes and makeup. It fosters the creation of identikit know nothings, who mistake the practice of face painting, balloon twisting, juggling,stilt walking and waving of American flags, for the art of clowning and their costume for some kind of character.

    There has been a dumbing down of the art of the clown, so everyone with an arse hole, thinks they can do it. The only prerequisites needed are a costume, red nose and a desire to get close to children. These people have no idea about the history of clowning and where the mask and red nose comes from. There seems not to be any understanding that the mask was designed for the stage or circus ring, in order to project an emotion over a distance. The mask and red nose are being used completely inappropriately in close up situations and obviously the result is a lot of scared children.

    They all know they scare children. You just have to read a few threads on this forum to realize how common an occurrence it is. Rather than accept there is a problem with themselves, they blame “It” and teenagers and scary clowns and anything else they imagine might sound plausible. But the COAI and it's membership is so stuck in it's rigid conventions of what a clown must look like, they dare not alter their appearance. They can't alter their appearance because that red nose is the only thing they have that shows they are a clown. They hide behind that mask scared, knowing it's removal would expose how little there is beneath. They know they have possession of zero comedic skills, to project their clown's character.

    You would think if ever there was an art form where self expression, creativity and individual character, would shine through, it would be the art clowning. You might imagine clowns would embrace originality and strive to find new ways, and fresh ideas to make people laugh. But you would be wrong. COAI hates anything that does not conform with it's own narrow blinkered conventional ideas. It discourages any attempts to break free from what it see as the correct way to be a clown. It rigidly enforces convention with it's rules in competitions. Any attempt to break free is punished with point reductions and the results are woeful. It produces a bunch of identikit, know nothing clones, and viewing the skit competition is nothing but a painful and embarrassing ordeal.

    Over time this has lead to the present day situation where much of the general public have shown a disinclination to book clowns. Why should anyone want to hire a talentless idiot in a mask, who might be able to twist a balloon but will also scare half the children? For the same money you could hire an equally talentless princess, fairy, pirate, elf etc. who may also be able to twist a balloon, without the incumbent risk of being scary.

    I think the COAI and other like minded associations have a great deal to answer for, when we consider the present day situation with clowning. Until they can accept their failures, adapt to contemporary circumstances and embrace the concept, that clowns are expected to be comedic performers, they will continue to hasten the decline of the clown in your society.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
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  6. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    Personally, I don't think that the type of American clown Barry describes denies a need to be funny. However, their personal concept of what is funny (and, perhaps even more so, what is "appropriate" in comedy) often falls flat.

    I could make an argument that it is their sense of comedy not maintaining relevance in today's audience marketplace. And that may be somewhat true. (That old joke which is funny to you may not be funny to anybody else.) But, being essentially an old skool vaudevillian, myself, and enjoying classic (even silent) film, I can attest that these things still are effective building blocks. Indeed, here is where I'd agree with Barry that it is a lack of serious study (going much deeper than faint appreciation) of these things which is critical. I have observed that the most successful performing artists involved with the clowning organizations often are steeped in such understanding in a way that sets them apart from average membership.

    Ultimately, I have observed that the challenge in comedics for a lot of American clowns is, essentially, a lack of practice. Comedy takes refinement. You try things. A lot falls flat. So you retool it and try again. Maybe, this time it works. So, you incorporate it into your act until it is reliable. And, even your old "tried and trues" may, eventually, require some freshening.

    But, if you're just looking for approval or freedom of expression (and a safe way to feel you're not so odd) then there is no serious self examination or truly constructive critique that might assist in growth. Or, as Barry notes, what is supported is just conformity and "playing it safe", which sort of rebels against clowning, itself.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
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  7. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    I once asked Ringling's (then) director of talent, himself a one time show clown, for a piece of advice on the art. He answered, direct and without hesitation, "Be funny!"
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  8. Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft)

    Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft) Old Bucket Spitter

    They certainly have on this forum, many times over. Any encouragement to develop or practice comedy has been either ignored or angrily and hostilely rejected. There has also been a concerted and often successful effort to curtail the creation of funnies, of others. I have observed with slack jawed astonishment, some of the most humourless people I have ever had the misfortune of meeting are Americans, who consider themselves as clowns.

    The expectations and interest of American clowns on this forum have displayed a complete lack of interest in humour and comedy. How many threads have we had where people have wanted to show us their new costume or new mask? How many threads have we had, where people have asked for advice on what makeup to wear or what nose to choose? Then consider how many threads we have had on people wanting to share their new funnies or threads asking for help writing funnies. The ratio must be somewhere near fifty to one. All the emphasis is on the superficial.

    I can't help thinking it is exactly this attitude of Americans, thinking they can be clowns, while not caring to understand what a clown is or making any effort to develop clown skills that has brought us to the situation we have now. If you Google “Clown” today, you have to scroll down more than one page to get to something that is positive about us. I am pretty angry about that and hold organisations such as COAI in total contempt, for the part they have played in this debacle.

    All the more reason, one might imagine, to encourage the development of comedic skills. This is where COAI and organisations like it, have if not as you say, denied the need to be funny, they have shown a total disregard for it. Instead of an emphasis on the superficial, costume and makeup and courses on balloon twisting, face painting, they should be providing comedy workshops. In not one of the convention programs I have looked at, has there ever been any skit writing or comedy workshop on offer.

    It is a very great shame of which I am sure they are oblivious.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2016
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  9. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    It isn't for a lack of trying. Courses on the "right stuff" are offered. But people don't show up. (Or few do.) They also aren't especially profitable for vendors trying to hawk their wares. (Let me show you my magic trick, which you can do too, for example.) There is a certain economic to running conventions. There is also a certain economy for family entertainment which makes magic, face painting, and balloons a marketable investment. Of course, one doesn't have to be a clown to do these things. (Conventions for entertainers wanting to focus on such skills usually are better and more expansive, also.) And, in fact, most of the best entertainers offering such are not working as clowns (even if their acts have more real clowning than what you get at the average convention of clowns.) I think that the real study of clowning in the U.S. tends to come more in theatrical communities these days, which (ironically) most traditional organizations' clowns are entirely unaware of and detached from.

    As for all the makeup and costuming questions on this forum, I think that primarily has to do with newer people attempting to explore and find a personal expression. They need a friendly sounding board. The problem, perhaps, is that American circus (and television of a certain era) successfully marketed a certain image of clown which people tend to think must be emulated in order to fit the part. It's the first, and most recognizable, thing. So people start there rather than realizing that such is, perhaps, best left for later expression of character and exploration of self which must be developed first.
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  10. Mongo The Clown

    Mongo The Clown Active Member

    Fantastic points, guys. Barry- I had no idea COAI was that useless. I only have a very abbreviated knowledge of the organization. I have visited their web site and read about them but in all I have seen I never saw it offering anything of VALUE to clowns other than being some obligatory fraternity. So I never really paid that much attention to what they actually DO. Thank you for the insight. My disinterest in them has been intensified.

    The problem with the rampant mediocrity of COAI is pretty much reflected in the general population so I am not sure whether to believe they are a cause or just another symptom. Maybe a little of both. But this circles right back to and concretizes my central point in that a lot of this is the fault of today's clowns. You are absolutely right that too often comedy is outright neglected and even rejected. I see very few making any attempt to entertain on ANY level as a matter of fact. A large number of my friends on Facebook are clowns. I follow several on Twitter. I have scoured YouTube in search of channels run by clowns. And in all of that I can count about four or five that ever post anything even remotely having to do with entertaining or even making an effort to be funny. I just wanted to find clowns and watch their videos and enjoy their art. And there is very little, good or bad, to enjoy. Plenty of vitriolic political rhetoric and chit-chat about their family or friends I do not know or care about, but little clowning. I just don't understand it. What is even the point of putting on the paint and nose if you're not going to actually DO something to play the part?

    Dammit. I'm mad at Ringling Brothers and you've got me on this. Ringling Brothers suck! Down with Ringling Brothers! OK... we're getting back on track now...
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  11. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    It was interesting to attend a World Clown Association convention a couple of years ago. Watching the performance oriented competitions, especially, illustrated how far superior the Asian clowns are over what typically passes in the U.S.
  12. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    Oh, Ringling again....in recent years they have subjugated the clowns to complementary, bit character parts, for the most part. Maybe they do an un-well timed performance piece, also, that isn't tight and which doesn't play terribly well. Only when they were allowed to unleash their comic creativity in their own preshow acts did one perceive the depth of talent often inherent. The problem with clowning on Ringling shows, then, is essentially that they don't allow their clowns to truly clown.
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  13. Indecisive

    Indecisive Active Member

    I was thinking about this show what was Ringling trying to accomplish? Then it came to me! They were trying to make a knockoff Crique style show. Since it is late November they will be coming out with a new show in January. If you read the reviews of their Out of this World show people were complaining that there was too much going on and that they didn’t like the storyline or the ice skating element. Feld also produces the Disney on Ice Shows. http://www.ticketmaster.com/Ringling-Bros-and-Barnum-Bailey-tickets/artist/2235332

    I have not personally seen The Out of this World show.

    It’s always the same old same old here and on the CF facebook page about people in terrible/unfinished/unprofessional costumes. Those shoes are too small, your nose is unprofessional looking, don’t use your real hair, don’t wear jumpsuits, that person is not wearing base makeup, I see some skin showing, etc… It seems all the same to me. Some of the most common advice is “Join an alley! Join the big clown organizations!”And really nothing else. You pay some money and you can join. That is it. There is really nothing else to it. I could sign up almost anybody even if they had absolutely no interest in clowning if I paid their membership fees.
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  14. Sir Toony Van Dukes

    Sir Toony Van Dukes Well-Known Member

    I haven't been reading reviews of the new Ringling creation. The early reports of it being on ice seemed strange. I want to see a circus, not the ice capades. Cirque does seem to be the hot ticket at the moment. They do have a unique take on the circus, but it is based on a small space with audiences fairly close to the performers, not like Ringling's stadium seating. I saw the Marvel Live and thought it was too much happening. But, I guess the kids (or boys) like the superheros. The Big Apple Circus started to move towards Cirque with a storyline that ties the acts together. Ringling had themes: dragons, extreme sports, etc. but the actual show was much the same with lions, elephants, horses, and other individual acts one after the other. I find many of their shows to be a lot of fluff with people dancing around instead of performing. The other half is the more traditional dare devil acts where people risk life and limb to entertain. The clowns are more there to give the audience a break from the suspense.
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  15. Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft)

    Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft) Old Bucket Spitter

    I'm not down on Ringling by any means. I had a fairly open mind on the question of wild animal acts until I had a serious look at the question and thought about it, at which point I decided I was very much against their inclusion in circus shows. But overall, I think Ringling are probably a great institution, with a world class show that has brought excitement and wonder to many generations of people. I was delighted to see they had dropped the animals and I had every confidence that they could still produce a great spectacle. Their shows may flop from time to time, as does Cirque's but they are skilled and professional show people with the knowledge and ability to come back with new, fresh and exciting ideas. There will always be clowns at Ringling but you can't blame them for wanting to down play them, in todays climate.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016
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  16. Sir Toony Van Dukes

    Sir Toony Van Dukes Well-Known Member

    As far as I know, Ringling only retired their elephants. They still have lions, tigers, camels, horses, and whatever other animals they have used in the past.

    I would like to think that animal trainers care as much about their animals as a good pet owner cares for their dogs and cats. While there might be a few bad apples, most would bend over backwards to protect the animals, especially if their income depended on the animal's health.

    Years ago, the movies always would show a lion tamer with a chair and a whip when in the ring with a lion. Now, they are much more hands on. While I know that a lion or tiger can seriously hurt someone with their strong jaws and powerful paws, I don't know how much is an act and how much is a real bond between the trainers and the big cats. That said, I don't think the circus would be lacking without the big cats in the show.
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  17. V

    V Well-Known Member

    Big cats & other exotics won't last much longer in the circus despite Feld insisting that they have no plans to remove further animals. New York is on the cusp of banning their use in entertainment, and NYC can live without Ringling more than Ringling can live without NYC. I imagine many other major markets will follow suit - certainly most on the west coast. Eventually, just as with Elephants (and local ordinances banning bullhooks), it will become either impractical to route their tour around these cities, or financially difficult to maintain a show without major markets who ban them. This is specific to Ringling. Other, smaller circuses are still using Elephants and such, but I expect them to eventually fold. They may poach some old Ringling Circus fans, but again - I expect many of these ordinances to eventually impact their profit margin to the point where they cannot continue and realistically, most of these shows are terrible anyway, and their animals are essentially their only draw (why they still use them despite Ringling giving way). It may take a year, or three, or five - but eventually, they'll close shop.

    On circus clowns - they've largely been trivial in Ringling for a while now so this isn't unexpected. On party clowns... it's largely been said here. Many are terrible - I can't say that I've ever seen one who wasn't really... I've seen comedy/variety party performers who are good, but they don't go in grease - most of them run from the "clown" moniker. COAI (and most other professional clown organizations) indeed hold some responsibility for many of the reasons all ready marked in this thread (and others on this forum). Look at most of the conventions/camps/colleges and they're all terrible in their offerings - chicken dances, parachute games, etc, etc. Even some of the more 'esteemed' camps offer kazoo band, and clown dances and the like... The reasoning here (some of it sound), is that there are a lot of "newbies" coming to these camps and they need introduction courses (make-up, balloons, etc), and to a point - I can agree, but there is also the issue that many people stay away because they don't want the bulk of their experience flooded with nonsense...

    That being said, I think Tim is spot on in that people are hesitant to attend much beyond the basics and I think that's because of the state of clowning in the states. Last year, a group of us had a get together that we put out to the entertainer community at large - offering what we felt, was useful knowledge to working individuals (some old motionfest guys, some comedy and improv guys, world class jugglers and magicians, mime - quite a lot really, from industry leaders) and honestly, interest was pretty low. Maybe it was poor marketing or planning on our part, but this wasn't a for-profit event, and we weren't going to kill ourselves with advertising and begging people to come. It essentially turned out to be a pretty big jam between most of us who try to get together a few times a year anyway, with the addition of maybe 50 others who came to learn; it was enough that we'll not do it for the public again unfortunately since we can just continue our various meet and greets throughout the year and save a few grand on meeting space rental. Nobody practices theater, or comedy, or movement, or whatever... they practice terrible dances and basic magic tricks and beginner balloon animals and call themselves a clown. As a result, I don't think many have much incentive to improve because they see their peers doing the same stuff and few are open to criticism or are willing to improve their acts or abilities. The recent creepy clown phase was blamed for clowns losing business (I still don't buy it), but really - I don't know that those guys were any less talented that your average clown college graduate...

    TL;DR - Feld sucks, the Circus sucks, Clowns basically suck because they want to suck
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  18. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    Their audiences would beg to differ.

    Several years ago, when Ringling attempted to drop the cat act, they received so many complaints that they had to find an available act mid season and add it to the show.
  19. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    Was it Barry who said it best, once stating something like, "Most clowns here are nice retirees or pent up housewives"?

    Even living in a major artistic metropolis, such as Chicago, the more artistic types typically don't mingle much with the more traditional clown groups, who in turn are often hardly aware of what else that is actually interesting (and could contribute to their own development) goes on around town. Among those who touch upon both worlds, most everyone knows everyone else as it's such a small subset.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2016
  20. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    As to the ice show aspect of this show, it seems to be primarily built around a particular acrobatic troupe which uses this angle as their extra added angle. Beyond their act, there really isn't a lot happening on ice most of the time. Yes, there is some skating, which essentially speeds up the usual "track" action that is there to decorate the arena. But most acts actually occur on padded areas. At one point fire burns along the edge where ice meets stage rubber, which is kind of cool.

    The opening act (a sort of tight rope on wheel combination) is really top notch and worth seeing. As is the closing Cossack act. But with this entire countdown song (5-4-3-2-1) repeated throughout, I was surprised that there wasn't a human cannonball shot to top it off.

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